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    Cosmology and Galaxies

    This course deals with the properties of galaxies, the large scale distribution of matter in the Universe, and the evolution of cosmic structures from the early cosmos until today. We introduce some fundamental theoretical concepts and contrast them with the available observational evidence. We will deal with the following topics: structure and dynamics of galaxies; stellar populations; models of galactic chemical evolution; clustering of galaxies; the standard model of cosmology; cosmological parameters and their determination; the early universe; galaxy formation. Regular homework exercises will be reviewed in the bi-weekly exercise sessions. These exercises serve also to prepare for the written exam at the end of the semester.


    Prof. Christoph Pfrommer & Prof. Lutz Wisotzki; exercise classes: Kristian Ehlert

    Place and Dates:

    The lectures take place every Tuesday, at 14:15-15:45 in room The exercise classes and the seminars alternate weekly and take place on Thursday, 08:30-10:00 in room

    The cosmology part of the lectures is based on the revised lecture notes originally written by Prof. Bartelmann (University of Heidelberg) and is available as a PDF file.


    • The homogeneous Universe:
      • Geometry and dynamics
      • Parameters, age, and distances
      • Thermal evolution: freeze-out and recombination

    • The inhomogeneous Universe:
      • The growth of perturbations
      • Statistics and non-linear evolution
      • Evidence for dark matter

    • The early Universe:
      • Problems of the standard model of cosmology
      • Cosmological inflation
      • Cosmic microwave background
      • Dark energy

    • Galaxies in the late Universe:
      • Galaxy formation
      • Structure and dynamics of galaxies
      • Stellar populations and chemical evolution

    Online Material

    Additional reading for this course is available at this link (password protected).

    Homework Assignments

    Weekly homework assigments for this course are available at this link (password protected).

    Seminar Organisation

    We will discuss the lecture topics in bi-weekly seminar sessions, which will be lead by the students. Until 1 week before each seminar, all students should submit (at least one) question to the respective seminar organisers via a google doc.

    Credit Points:

    Credit points for this lectures can be used for the Master Science Astrophysics Module PHY-750 and the Master Physics Modules 741b, 731, 732, A841. Note that this course is the second part of the Astrophysics I course in stellar astrophysics, galaxies & cosmology.

    Grades and credit points are given on the basis of a final in-class exam. To be eligible for this exam, you need to obtain at least 50% of the points of your homework assignments.

    Literature (for the cosmology part):

    • Bartelmann, M.: Lectures on Cosmology
    • Peacock, J.: Cosmological physics. Cambridge University Press
    • Peebles, P.J.E.: Principles of physical cosmology. Princeton University Press
    • Padmanabhan, T.: Structure formation in the universe. Cambridge University Press
    • Kolb, E.; Turner, M.: The Early Universe. Westview Press
    • Liddle, A.R.; Lyth, D.H.: Cosmological Inflation and Large Scale Structure. Cambridge University Press